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How often do you change careers?

{ 51 comments }

How often change careerI have a question for you today. I’m curious if any of you have the urge to quit your job and take on something new every 7 years or so. That’s what my working life seems to be like. I graduated from college and started working in computer chip design right away. It was fun and challenging for a few years, but I couldn’t stick with it my entire career. After about 7 years, I got really bored and changed to the validation side of the process, which is making sure the computer chip works correctly. I worked in the same company, but the work was totally different. The change was nice for a few years and then I felt the need to change again after about 7 years. Also, the job was getting really stressful and I couldn’t handle it anymore due to the changing requirements. I quit my engineering career soon after and became a full time stay at home dad/blogger in 2012.

I have been blogging about personal finance for almost 6 years now and I’m wondering if I will get the itch to change again. Blogging has been awesome and I still enjoy it a great deal. Interacting with readers through the comment section is my favorite part of blogging. Writing is fun too, but I also get blogger block once in a while. Hopefully, I will be able to stick with it until I’m at least 50. Being self employed makes a huge difference because I can set my own schedule and manage my own workload. Life is much less stressful than when I had a manager looking over my shoulders. I could always cut back a bit if I start to get bored with blogging.

What about my family members? Let’s see what some of us did in our working life so far.

Mrs. RB40’s careers

Mrs. RB40 just changed jobs! She was relatively happy in her old job and was really good at it, but I think it was getting a bit stale for her. Things can get a bit boring if you deal with the same issues day in and day out for years without feeling like you’re making a true impact. Here is her work history.

  • Worked her way through college at various student jobs (library assistant, theatre usher, clerk at museum store, television services assistant).
  • 3 years of volunteering in the Peace Corps and readjustment.
  • 1 year at a temp agency.
  • 5 years at a tech company as an administrator.
  • 2 years to get her Master degree while interning at various companies around town.
  • 7 years in HR, employee relations.
  • New job – training and employee development coordinator.

Wow, she changed jobs more than I did. Let’s see how long she will last at this new job. She plans to retire by 2020 so it might be just 5 years. Who knows what’s going to happen though.

My dad’s working life

My dad changed jobs quite often in his working life. Let’s list what kind of things he did.

  • College – He earned a degree in education, but never taught in a school.
  • Salesman – He sold Tupperware, encyclopedias, dining ware, among other things. I think he did this for a few years after college.
  • Chicken farm – He started a chicken farm. My mom told me we had a two bedroom rental home and the chickens lived in one room. I assume this was when he just started.
  • Pig farm – I think he did this for a few years. The pigs lived in their pig sty and I didn’t have a share a room with them…
  • Copying service and store – Think Kinko’s.
  • Appliance store – He had an appliance store for a few years. He expanded too fast and it went bankrupt. We moved the US after this business blew up.
  • Antique Buddha trading – He bought and sold Thai Buddha amulets for a living for a few years.
  • Fruit stand – I think this was very short lived.
  • Pizza delivery guy, line cook, flier guy, gas station guy, and other odd jobs. He worked wherever he could for a few years when we first moved to the US.
  • Thai restaurant owner/cook.
  • Liquor store owner.
  • Buddha statue store owner. He made and sold Buddha statues when he first moved back to Thailand. He gave up this business because the statues were getting too heavy for him.
  • Day trader. I think he was a day-trading for 6-7 years. He’s not doing it now because he doesn’t have the funds.
  • He has a few condos in Chiang Mai and he rents them out to generate some income.
  • Retired? My dad just turned 70 recently and I think he’s taking it a bit easier now.

Whew, that’s a busy life. I’m sure I missed a few things. The Thai restaurant was the most stable of all these things he did. He owned the Thai restaurant for about 10 years and it funded 3 college degrees. I’m not sure why he didn’t want to work at the restaurant anymore. I think he got bored and wanted to try something else. The liquor store in the same strip mall was up for sale so he wanted to try that.

My dad’s biggest problem was that he didn’t have solid finances. He’d start a business with a loan and expand. When there was an inevitable hiccup, the business would quickly fail. The Thai restaurant was stable because the overhead was low and the cash flow was reasonably good. After all the kids went off to college, the operating cost increased because the kids couldn’t help out at the restaurant anymore.

My mom taught at a university for about 10 years. When we moved to the US, she picked up odd jobs until they became a business owner. She has been retired since they quit the liquor store business.

My brothers – My 2 younger brothers are still in their first career. They studied a long time and they probably need to stick with it for a while to make the time investment worth it. They don’t seem to feel the need to change careers like I do.

Yes, that was me on the pig. 🙂

Careers change

I read on the internet that most people change career about 7 times in their working life. That’s a lot of changes. It’s from the internet so I don’t know how much we can trust it. I assume most professionals don’t change careers that often because their income is good and it’s difficult to start over in a new field. Blue collar workers probably change jobs/careers much more often because the work doesn’t require as much training.

It’s probably best to stick with one field and get really good at it. Whenever you start in a new field, your salary get reset so that’s not good. I couldn’t stick with being an engineer, though.

What about you? How many times have you changed careers in your working life? Do you feel the need to change jobs/careers every few years?

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{ 51 comments… add one }
  • Petra January 27, 2016, 12:38 am

    Hmm, I worked at my previous job six years, and now I am close to reaching five years at this job, and I’m considering what next. So far, I think I’ll stick with it for at least four more years, because by then I’ll have a nice stash of savings to make a possible jump with.

    I’m wondering, Joe, whether your dad’s career track and its influence on you as you grew up, influences your current decisions?

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:23 am

      I don’t know… My dad jumped from job to job so much and we moved a lot. I thought I like stability, but it seems I get bored easily too. As long as our living situation is stable, I think it’s fine. We don’t plan to move around a lot so our kid should have a stable childhood.

  • Michael @ Financially Alert January 27, 2016, 12:53 am

    Hi Joe, every 7 years seems like a lot. However, if you consider how many people actually are not finding fulfillment in their given careers, it probably explains a lot of that. The funny thing about us is we want consistency and safety, but at the same time, we also need growth and some variety (contradiction I know!). I guess that’s a good thing though, because it pushes us to grow.

    I definitely enjoyed aspects of my IT career and building the business, but after a decade, I knew it was time to move on. I had plateaued and wasn’t excited in the way I used to be. Taking an early retirement has definitely given me a different perspective on things and I’ve slowed down a lot. And as happy as I am staying home with the kids and punching away at a blog late at night, I need more… which is why I’m now pursuing the very real possibility of becoming a peak performance coach. To be able to inspire, and encourage someone else to grab hold of their full potential – and then actually watching it happen – that’s exciting to me. But, I digress. Each unto his/her own. I say follow your heart until it’s satiated and never stop growing no matter what career you choose.

    P.S. Love the pig!!

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:24 am

      I think hitting the plateau is a big component of getting bored. Once you can’t grow in your job, you really need to make a change. Good luck with coaching! 🙂

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes January 27, 2016, 3:22 am

    Love that picture of you on the pig!

    As far as my career goes, I guess I’ve switched careers a few times. Generally around every 5-7 years. I don’t feel like I had a lot of control over it. Like your Dad, I sometimes just did what I needed to survive. More of it will be going up on my blog eventually.

    Now (I guess) I’m a stay-at-home-Dad / Blogger. I don’t really consider it a career, as I don’t make any money at it.

    After early-retirement I feel a lot less money motivated that I used to be.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:26 am

      😀 I haven’t seen that picture for years. My uncle emailed it to us last week and it made me think about what my dad did when he was young. Money is a great motivator when you’re young. I don’t feel as money motivated either. We’re pretty comfortable and I don’t feel the need to work harder.

  • Money Beagle January 27, 2016, 5:33 am

    I’ve been at my current job for close to nine years now, and this is by far the longest I’ve ever been at one employer (I think around 3 years was my longest before that). I really enjoy it here as the work is good, it’s not stressful, and they have a great work-life balance situation, which is great for me to enjoy my young kids as they grow up. It has started to come to the point where I’ve considered looking around. Routine is nice except that it’s so…routine. 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:28 am

      You mentioned being satisfied at work before and I think that’s awesome. It’s interesting how we human get bored. Your work is good, but you still feel the need to look around. Mrs. RB40 was like that too. She interviewed 3 times last year before finally getting a new position. Good luck. 🙂

  • Lye_89 January 27, 2016, 6:03 am

    Considering I’ve only been working for 10 years, my timeline is a little different, but my rate of declining job satisfaction and desire to change appears to kick in about every two years. Even now, in what’s supposed to be my “real career” making the most I’ve ever made, I’m getting bored, and starting to daydream about doing something different even if it’s less lucrative. Changing jobs every two years is likely not a sustainable cycle or even at a certain point very responsible, so I’m trying to fight the urge, but it’s been difficult.

    My timeline:

    Jobs I didn’t want, but needed:

    Fast food worker – 3 months
    Cashier – 3 years
    Pharmacy Insurance Call Center Worker – 1.5 years

    Jobs I wanted:

    Administrative Assistant – 2 years
    Accounting Assistant – 1.5 years
    Jr. Developer – 2 years

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:29 am

      Oh wow, every 2 years? That’s fast. You should look around and see if you can find something better. I’m sure you’ll slow down a bit when you get older. 🙂 Good luck!

  • Mike Drak January 27, 2016, 6:32 am

    Prior to starting my Victory Lap I worked in the banking industry (same bank) for 36 years. One day in my mid-fifties I woke up and decided that I didn’t like my job anymore. The stress was starting to affect my health and I had stopped growing I was good at what I did but it was the same old every day. It’s hard to leave a well paying job late in your career but I knew I had to get out and after reading Ernie’s book “Retire happy Wild and Free I decided to write a book. It’s been tough but I’m almost there and it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me. People need change, or they get stale and being bored can kill you. Once you have achieved FI the world opens up and you can do anything you want, whenever you want’ which makes for an interesting life.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:31 am

      Good luck with your book! It’s great that you’re reaching out to try new things. A lot of people get trapped in their job especially late in their career. When you have enough to pay for core expenses, a whole world of possibilities open up.

  • Mike H. January 27, 2016, 7:05 am

    Based on the surveys I’ve read, changing careers is relatively rare: young people do it once or twice while they (we?) are still finding out what makes them happy, then they settle down. Changing JOBS, on the other hand, is supposedly getting more and more common, and I think part of it has to do with retirement benefits. Previously, the model of retirement was to find the right company, work for 30 years, and be taken care of the rest of your life. Well, most of that evaporated, and you can’t blame people for adopting a mercenary demeanor when the very clear attitude of quite a few employers is that a financial promise will only be kept if it’s convenient. So maybe people these days only have a 5-10 year time horizon for a specific job. I expect that once people reach financial independence, their following career is a lot more fulfilling. I wouldn’t worry about blogging becoming stale for you just yet.

    Personally, I’ve changed careers once (in 2015, actually), but I wouldn’t be surprised if I changed it up again very soon. New job is just a bit too much like the old job. It’s like if you ever dated a crazy person: the first time, you might try to ride it out (until it implodes), but afterwards you always pick up the warning signs early.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:34 am

      Good luck with the new search. Working at the same company for 30 years is a thing of the past. Everyone need to look out for number one now. The corporations’ main concern is their bottom line. Yeah, blogging has been great and I hope to keep it up for a while. I might cut back if I decide to try something else. We’ll see.

  • Sandy T January 27, 2016, 7:20 am

    I have been working for 11 years in what I deem professional jobs. I’ve been an engineer at each of my jobs. I have had three jobs. The longest lasting right at 7 years. I’ have been in my current position for about a year and a half…and I’m already wondering if it’s a right fir. The new boss might change things, so I’m in a bit of wait and see at the moment. That being said, I’m in school working on my master’s, so a change will come in the next year or so.

    I think some people are content to sit in a job and work it for 30 years. Others want change. I’m in the change group. either is fine, as long as what you do makes you happy.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:35 am

      Great job getting your Master. Hopefully, it will lead to new opportunities for you. Keep looking while you’re young. Changing job/career gets harder when you’re older.

  • freebird January 27, 2016, 7:43 am

    No, I’ll be one and done, I’m what they call a ‘lamppost’ in silicon valley, although where I work we’re not that rare. My badge has changed a few times but it was my employer who moved, the group I work in has been pretty much the same. I did move departments once after an overseas stint, but the work was related. I feel I have a good work environment between management, coworkers, and job content, and while there may be better growth opportunities elsewhere, those jobs come with features I don’t want (like I’m tired of traveling to Asia).

    Frankly I don’t want to spend a lot of time climbing another long learning curve– at this stage of my life I’d rather apply the expertise I’ve acquired to add immediate value to the business. My area happens to be hot at the moment, and maybe when my phone stops ringing I’ll delve into something new-ish. Stale doesn’t bother me, I’ll go with the notion that practice makes perfect rather than jumping around frequently looking for the perfect natural fit.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:37 am

      Oh wow, that’s great. I think you’re the first one that mentioned being with one employer for so long.
      I think it makes more sense to stick to one field and specialize at it too. But I just can’t seem to do it.

  • Brent January 27, 2016, 8:23 am

    It’s hard to imagine anyone doing one job, my less staying at one company, for 30-40 years. I guess quitting my job to be a stay-at-home dad constitutes the fourth major career change since 2002, so every four years for me.

    -Film editor (2002-2004)
    -TV News & Sports Producer (2005-2008)
    -User Experience Researcher (2010-2016)
    -Stay-at-home dad (2016-???)

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:37 am

      Wow, you had a lot of changes. Stay at home dad should be fun for a while. I’m sure you’ll be itching to work again after the kid goes to kindergarten. 🙂

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai January 27, 2016, 8:26 am

    Wow, that is ONE BIG PIG! 🙂

    I did 13 years in finance, and am 7 years in online media. I want to last 10 years in online media before thinking of something else.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:38 am

      Heh heh, that was a big pig. Really! I wonder what you’ll do next. I can’t imagine you stopping with online media. You have been producing consistently great material for years.

  • Catwoman73 January 27, 2016, 8:50 am

    Since graduating in 1998, I’ve never changed careers, and only changed jobs once. And I will likely stay right where I am until I retire! I think my story is much more common in healthcare (I’m a respiratory therapist) than it is in a lot of other fields, though. I have friends who are the same age as I am, and have gone through more careers and jobs than I can count.

    Why do I stay put? It’s not because I love what I do- I really don’t, actually. It’s primarily because I make good money, I have a great defined benefit pension plan, and I have decent health benefits. Secondly, my training is so specialized, I can’t imagine what else I would be able to do! And finally, I hate change, so unless the benefits of moving on to a new career/job outweigh the benefits of staying put by a BIG margin, I don’t imagine I would go anywhere else.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:46 am

      It takes so long to train in healthcare. You invest so much time and money into a career that you don’t want to change. I’d save and invest as much as you can just in case you get bored some day. A lot of people who makes good money are trapped in their job because they increased their lifestyle too much.

      • Smart Money MD January 29, 2016, 1:35 pm

        Most healthcare workers change jobs mainly due to work conditions (overworked, undercompensated) or just due to family situations. It’s tougher for highly compensated workers like doctors move often simply because it takes many years to build up reputation and even income (due to vesting schedules). I have seen traveling nurses make great money on a relatively flexible schedule (although the work itself can be stressful). A rolling stone gathers no moss right? 😉

  • middle class revolution January 27, 2016, 8:54 am

    I’ve held several jobs and changed positions within a company but I’ve only had 2 careers. I enjoy my current field so I hope to stay as long as I can. However, as I get older, I don’t think my field will be as welcoming unless I climb higher up the ladder. I feel like I SHOULD be changing jobs at this point simply because I’ve been at the company for 10+ years!

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:46 am

      That’s what I felt like when I quit my job too. I was at the same company for 16 years. It was time to change company or quit. Good luck! 🙂

  • LeisureFreak Tommy January 27, 2016, 9:10 am

    My work outside of High School was in Bank Operations in Proof and then Research for 2 years. I worked 31 years for the same Telephone company but had a few different jobs to get to my final career goal. Service Rep 3 years, Central Switching Office Frame Attendant/Tech 9 years, Central Office Tech/Analyst 4 years, and then Network Engineer 15 years. Retired the first time at age 51. Then the fun began. Wireless NOC Tech 1.83 years and then transition to a desired encore career as a Cable Video IT Analyst 2.5 years. Had enough and retired again at age 56. I did later return for a short 2 month interesting side hustle that was extended to 7 months there as an Analyst in their telecom group. No telling how many careers or jobs I might do now that I am retired. I am always open to opportunity but I am super picky. It’s the absence of NEEDING to work that defines my retirement.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:48 am

      Wow, that’s quite a few changes. Did you have to take a lot of classes when you change job? Enjoy your retirement! 🙂

  • Kim January 27, 2016, 9:48 am

    I don’t think I could ever change careers, but I do believe I have about 10 years of patience for any particular job. It took 8 years to get through college, optometry school, and residency, working crappy jobs off and on throughout so I was certainly ready for a good paycheck after that. Then, I lasted 10 years in private practice before I was a basket case. I’ve been kind of a freelance optometrist for the past 5 years working in two different types of practices and for the federal government. That is still OK but the job I have with the government is going full time and I think I’m going to give that a whirl. I want to retire in 10 years, so that should be just about perfect. My husband is very similar. Taught in the classroom for 10 years then moved into administration. He is still enjoying that after three years so we’ll see if the 10 year rule gets him there as well.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2016, 10:49 am

      I think it’s really tough for specialized healthcare provider to change career. You are making such great income and changing career would be very tough. 🙂 Good luck!

  • Aaron January 27, 2016, 10:22 am

    I’ve changed jobs four times in my career, but have kept the same profession as a journalist. I’m not counting jobs in college or earlier, when doing anything to make a buck was key because I didn’t have college degree yet.

    I think it’s smart to constantly be on the lookout for new job/career opportunities, and to create your own job as a backup plan if nothing else.

  • Bd January 27, 2016, 12:02 pm

    Seems like there is a huge difference in switching jobs (education law to employment law or .net developer to tech project managemeny or even chicken to pig farmer) and switching careers (lawyer to interior decorator). I find it hard to believe that most people have 7 career switches. Job switches that seems more likely.

  • Joel January 27, 2016, 1:01 pm

    I think it really depends on the change level. I, like the “average” today make a change every 2 years. I’m 42. I’m in software, and I (as well as many of my peers) seem to plateau every 2 years or so and look for a change. It doesn’t mean a new company or career – it may mean a promotion or a shift in work/responsibilities/roles, but not necessarily an entirely new “career”. From that perspective I’ve gone from testing software to writing code to product management to technical sales to sales management, etc. I’ve probably had a new role every 2-3 years for me but all in the software world. The real estate investing I’m doing (trying to buy my third property now) could ultimately be the big deviation from the norm, although in the tight tech market in 02-05 I did manage a non-profit. That was different. And good. These days it doesn’t pay for me to stay one place too long. Salaries, skills, technological change, and many other rewards benefit those who have an eye to what’s next in this economy.

  • James January 27, 2016, 1:14 pm

    Unless someone is one of the very selective few who are true genius scientist or engineers, the best career advice for most people it to move up the corporate ladder. In a field such as engineering or any science related career, it’s very easy to tell the super good people from the mediocre ones. Senior managers and executives regardless of whether they’re average or good will always call the shots, make much more money, and have way more influence than the rank and file workers. If after working for 25+ years, they can walk away with much more money compared to other early retirees.

    The other way is to become a very successful entrepreneur, but that’s a much more difficult path for most people.

  • Jo January 27, 2016, 1:17 pm

    I started my professional career as a young engineer in R&D for four years and was lucky to get the opportunity to be promoted to a product line manager for another four years and then the door was opened for me to move on to a marketing position for again four years. From there it was quite straightforward to move on to management positions were I have spent the next 15 years between three jobs before I retired.
    I must say that I have never looked for a new job. It was always a call from a friend or associate or head hunter that came to me with the idea about the new opportunity.
    The main motivation for me to move from one job to the next was purely my feeling that I wanted to do new things and at the same time to develop my skills and gain new experience. I also enjoyed the fact that moving between jobs came with better contracts during the journey but it was never the purpose of making the change. I used to say that my job is my hobby and I was willing to pay the company to do it so I was lucky that they paid me to do what I love to do.

  • Willy Marbok January 27, 2016, 4:17 pm

    Nice post.
    Changing jobs in many cases depend of job you are on. If you are in sale business you will change your job much often than some engineer. Sales persons are usually get tired of repeating same sentence all over a time, and ever changing target sales. If you manage to achieve target sale, your boss will raise your next month target , again and again and again ,every time you manage it, to endless that brings you to frustration and wish to change job. That is my story!

  • Marietta January 27, 2016, 7:39 pm

    I admire people who change jobs every seven years. It takes motivation and a willingness to make peace with change, which is inevitable. I have been nursing (RN) for the same non-profit health care provider for 20 years! Recently, I have applied for a dozen different jobs such as Medical Coding and Forensic Autopsy Technician. I am willing to start over at the bottom of the pay scale but no employer can see me in any other career. It is soul crushing to stay in the same job for two decades. MB

  • Paul January 28, 2016, 6:17 am

    I think the real issue with career change is less about losing interest in the field and more about boredom with the “opportunities” available.

    For me its job change and not really “career” change. Not so much about boredom in my field (cyber security), as there is always something more to learn or a different area to specialize in. I can not seem to stay with an employer for longer than 3 years. The reality is if you move around you accelerate your earning potential. Loyalty is completely overrated and one sided. It really is a fools errand. If you think about the reason for working, getting money, you might as well get as much of it as fast as you can. Plan your exit and then bounce. It one reason I like contracting, more money and you get to move around. I could not imagine being with one employer for 20-30 years. It one reason why, when I have turned down government positions, I don’t value job security because I don’t want to work forever.

  • Abigail @ipickuppennies January 28, 2016, 1:05 pm

    I was surprised to hear recently that it’s somewhat common to change jobs every 7ish years. At the very least, to change companies.

    I worked odd jobs out of college trying to work around my health problem. Eventually, I had to stop, and I started the disability process. So from age 26 to age 31, I was either in the midst of trying to get or being on disability.

    That stopped because I found a job that I can do at home. There really aren’t any other companies that would let me do this. Plus my boss is awesome and generous. So I won’t be going anywhere… ever.

  • I’ve been working for fourteen years, switched places four times and never had the same role for more than 3 years. Now I switched careers and gone full time consulting and loving the change. I don’t foresee changing this pace.

    7 years is a long time. Really depends on your personality. My husband has been in the same place for more than 12 years and happy to be there.

  • Michelle January 28, 2016, 6:58 pm

    My first job out of college lasted 6 months; not that I didn’t like it, just that I wasn’t making a lot and my ex boyfriend wanted me to move closer to him. The HR director didn’t want me to go, offered me the title I wanted and gave me a list of the cities to move to, but wouldn’t give me the little bit extra I asked for. I left the company and moved back home while I looked for the next job and state to move to. Ironically, my ex boyfriend and I broke up during this time.

    Long story short, I found a job not long after and have been with this company since. It’s going to be my 17th year with this company. I was single when I started this company, I am now married with 2 kids and have been thinking about leaving. Compensation has been great but work also has been very demanding. With 2 kids in elementary, I feel I am missing out on their lives. I think my priority has changed.

  • RA50 January 28, 2016, 9:52 pm

    Hi Joe,

    In my case, in 18 years of workalike, I change only twice. I will completed 15 years in my actual company, but I have say I changed 3 time, job position, so in in average a change complete change of area every 5 years.

    Cheers,
    RA50

  • SillyLily January 28, 2016, 11:32 pm

    Hey man, what kind of shoes were you wearing sitting on the pig? :p

    • retirebyforty January 29, 2016, 10:33 am

      I believe that’s a low rise cowboy boots. 🙂

  • Ken January 31, 2016, 12:16 pm

    My work history:

    3 years: various part time jobs while attending college (includes cafe, bookstore, sporting goods store, summer intern at an Engineering firm).
    5.5 years: Engineer. I hated being in a corporate environment, and hated being stuck in a desk day in and day out, especially since I’m an outdoor person. I got bored with all that, and decided to try something more exciting……
    2 years and going: Infantryman. Yes, you read that right. Being a Grunt has its exciting moments (being paid to shoot, certain training exercises), however 90% of the time it flat out sucks. Despite all the day-to-day BS that we go through, and how miserable Infantry life can be (carrying 100+lbs of gear for miles, picking up cigarette butts, sitting around doing nothing for 10+ hours for absolutely no reason, being cold, wet, sleep-deprived, hot, stressed out, underpaid, dirty, bug-bitten, blistered, exhausted), it’s also an extremely fulfilling job, once all is said and done. I have a few years left on my contract, and once that’s done I am getting out.

    That being said, I made one (dramatic) career change so far, and plan on making another one after a few years.

  • nicoleandmaggie February 1, 2016, 10:28 am
  • Jerald Estoso February 5, 2016, 1:11 am

    Changing careers is not easy for everyone out there. I know a lot of people including my father and his colleagues who have been working at the same place doing the same work for more than 25 years now. Some of them still enjoy their work but some don’t know what else to do. So they are still doing the same thing and intend doing it until retirement. If this makes them happy, why not! Another important point in this is that the new place you are going for an interview, the first thing they see about you is your CV. If it shows a lot of job changes in very little time, your chances of getting the job decrease instantly. No one likes an employee who will leave too soon, being productive on a job takes time.
    http://happylater.com/financial-independence-frugality/

  • kev February 10, 2016, 2:45 pm

    Hey Joe, Your story is very interesting and wonderful. Great post am shocked to hear to say people at times change careers about 7 times in their work lives that’s a lot of change! Am not sure I could be able to change my career I could handle all that change. I do think most people are hesitant to changing careers because as we go on in our careers there are more responsibilities maybe a family, kids, mortgage which demand the availability of a constant paycheck. I do well you all the best in life. http://happylater.com/financial-independence-frugality/

  • Jeff V May 23, 2016, 8:56 am

    So far:

    Graduated college at 22 as electrical engineer. Married soon after.

    – Worked first job for 2+ years. The company was on the verge of death for much of the time I was there (business was slow in the 2001 – 2003 time frame I was there. They occasionally couldn’t make payroll; basically, the owner was an old guy who didn’t want to retire yet, so he kept the place alive. They closed for good a few years later)

    – Got a new job as an EE. In this time, earned a masters degree part time, and had our first child. I was here 5 years, then…

    – I decided to pursue a PhD in Finance. Our second daughter was born at this time. I was only there one year; the program wasn’t what I expected. So,

    – I went back to my previous job. I was there another 5 years, and then I was laid off. This was a surprise, since I was the only person in my department under 40 with 10 years’ experience. I was told repeatedly I was an important part of the future of the department (they has discouraged me from switching into a different role). Then, work was slow for a few months one summer, and they axed half the department. (Then they tried getting me back 5 months later, after business predictably picked back up).

    – After a few months unemployed, I started my current job about 2 years ago. In general I like it, but I am just a contractor currently. I am a bit conflicted; I want a permanent job here for stability, but some days I am really bored.

    If I were to do something completely different, I would become a financial planner. The main reasons I haven’t pursued that yet are:
    a) the time and cost of CFP education
    b) Not wanting to start over
    c) Fear that I will be bored of this within 5 – 10 years.

    Meanwhile, my wife has had the same job since she was a college co-op. She works a 30 hour week, which is great with two kids.

    • retirebyforty May 23, 2016, 9:58 pm

      Engineering is a young man’s game. It is very demanding and there are always younger engineers who are willing to put in the hours. It might be wise to change career at some point. Starting over is tough, but you might have to do it. Good luck!

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